“An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.” — Thomas Jefferson
Beginning in 2004, Sustainable World, one of the vital Peace & Justice ministries of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, expanded its outreach beyond our parish campus by presenting Conscientious Projector, a free monthly documentary film series, in association with the Armory Center for the Arts in the heart of the city.
Our operating premise follows the above-quoted Jeffersonian vision, that in these times of mounting crises, a functional democratic society requires its citizens be informed of the real conditions that we and our world are facing. This is especially relevant in an era where one of those crises is the misinformation, narrow range of perspective, and bearing of false witness that pervade our airwaves and discourse. Our film series was, in fact, born out of a shared frustration over mainstream media failure to question 1) the fraudulent justification we were given for going to war in Iraq; and 2) the real impact of corporate power and free market economic policy. Our own study led us to the work of tenacious producers, writers and directors of documentary films engaged in telling truths that were not getting a fair airing elsewhere.
Our program features probing investigations and thoughtful analysis of the compelling social issues, geopolitical currents and economic and environmental challenges of the day. We look for films that offer an honest and discerning progressive critique and help promote conversation and understanding. Conscientious Projector seeks to:
- spotlight bold independent filmmakers, who, through their craft, research and reporting skills, are able to expose injustice, human suffering and earthly blight, and point to hopeful alternatives and solutions; and
- provide a welcome space for facilitated community discussion of the films and audience responses to them.
Our goal is to foster awareness of the social consequences of public policy and also of our own personal choices, so we can become more empowered and better equipped to join in transforming our communities and expanding the role of civil society in bringing about meaningful change both locally and globally. Filmmakers and/or local speakers on our featured topics often take part in our presentations.
The idea for the series grew out of a shared sense that the public’s right to know is not fully served by the mainstream media’s formula of sound bites, clashing pundits and narrow range of perspective. Our guiding principle is the Jeffersonian notion that an enlightened citizenry is the heart of democracy.